Saints earn TCIS honors

Published 11:54 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s field hockey team had an early exit in the TCIS tournament this year, but this did not discount the fact that there were Lady Saints who made an impression on opposing coaches with their performances throughout the year.

NSA senior Sarah Higinbotham earned her inaugural All-Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools first-team selection for field hockey.

“It means a lot,” she said. “It just means all my hard work has paid off. I started out ‘no team’ in 10th grade, and then second team (in 11th grade) and then first team, finally, this year.”

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Lady Saints coach Ashley Skinner stated she is proud and excited for Higinbotham to earn the accolade.

“She has worked very hard this season to better her skills and maintain her leadership role on and off the field,” Skinner stated in a text message. “I have had the privilege of coaching her for the last five years. She has a phenomenal work ethic, and I felt she was very deserving of this honor.”

Higinbotham finished the year with six goals and eight assists.

Skinner noted that gaudy stats are not necessarily what voting coaches are looking for.

“It’s not always just the goals that get you on first team and second team,” she said. “It’s really how you play on the field, and coaches can spot that. They can see how you facilitate, how you lead your team, whether you develop passing opportunities for your team, whether you cut to the ball, and other coaches make note of that.”

Explaining why she thought she was selected to the first team, Higinbotham said, “I guess I would say it was that I was always working hard and that I always was involved in the play, no matter where it was. I always tried to back my teammates up.

Some of her teammates who contributed to NSA’s 8-10-2 run made the second team, including seniors Jessie Lerner and Madi Glynn and sophomore Paige Christiansen.

Lerner had 18 goals and nine assists, Glynn nearly matched her 120-save total from last year and Christiansen recorded nine goals and five assists.